The early hours of the morning found us in Maiviken, where a few of our bravest guests disembarked to take on our earliest and longest hike yet. Only a few faint rays of sun, the lazy undulations of kelp on the surface, and a group of curious seal pups welcomed us on the landing.
Our target was the old whaling station at Grytviken. The early hikers and the rest of the expedition joined together to wander around the skeleton of the station, the church, and its wonderful library. It was a unique moment for us to catch our breath and stare out into the ocean, sheltered in the shade of ships abandoned half a century ago.
However, staring and wandering was not all we did. We soon came upon one of the landmarks of this voyage, a moment that most of us had been looking forward to: the toast at Sir Ernest Shackleton’s grave. It has been over a hundred years since The Boss died, and while there is nothing we would love more than to have him back and listen to his stories, we find comfort in making sure he will not be forgotten. We celebrated him in the same manner as many others have before us.
Meanwhile, our undersea team was busy diving next to one of the piers at Grytviken, so we could all enjoy the wonders on this side of the surface as well as those that rest below.
To complete an already wonderful day, we sailed to Ocean Harbour. We split into groups for hikes of different lengths and elevations so we could all explore the wonders of this bay and its rich history. We stopped at the oldest grave on the island, that of Frank Cabrial, a sealer who died in 1820. We observed the wreck of the Bayard, a three-masted ship that was abandoned after she was blown loose by a gale from her mooring in the bay.
Fur seal pups, gentoo penguins, and more than a few elephant seals stared at us as we wrapped up the day and set off to our next destination.